7 Jan 21
“Errors in religion are dangerous.
Those in philosophy, only ridiculous.”
David Hume
Light rifles and full auto:
Light autoloading military rifles (so popular today, among both military organizations and civilian gun-owners) are easy to carry and maneuver, but downsides include rapid overheating and parts breakage. When you want a rifle that doesn’t overheat quickly and doesn’t break parts quite so often (even/especially when it gets hot) it will necessarily be on the heavy side, particularly the barrel.
With “light” rifles, exhaustive full-auto fire will invariably lead to rapid overheating and parts breakage. Thus, when your serious rifle has full-auto capability, it must be used judiciously and very sparingly, if at all!
In fact, full-auto fire from a shoulder-mounted 5.56×45 rifle is rarely genuinely useful, nor productive! Most often, it just squanders ammunition.
The prudent rifleman/Operator concentrates on surgical accuracy with individual shots!
High rates of full-auto fire (900-1200 r/m) are utterly uncontrollable in the hands of most shooters, and thus serve scant useful purpose, as noted above.
Slower rates of full-auto fire (350-450 r/m) can be marginally useful in certain tactical situations, at least in the hands of competent and experienced shooters. Understandably, war-planners like slow rates of fire, since ammunition and training time is limited when you’re trying to train and field a big army in a short amount of time.
Having said all that, full-auto fire does have a perpetual “recreational” attraction for non-serious shooters, and attempts to satisfy this impulse continue to attract the attention of inventors, regulators, sometimes the media!
Rifles that come from the factory with a legitimate full-auto option are, of course, NFA items (since 1934). In most states, they can be legally owned by private citizens, with appropriate paperwork. Police departments may also own these same weapons, under the same federal statute. The only difference is that police departments are exempt from the transfer tax.
There are several options:
“Progressive triggers” fire one shot when pulled sightly to the rear, full-auto when pulled all the way to the rear. The military-grade AUG is an example. It has no separate “selector” lever, nor button. The idea never caught-on and is not found on most modern military rifles.
An alternative, employed by Beretta and others, is simply to have two triggers within the trigger guard. The forward one is semi-auto. The rear one is full-auto. Again, not particularly popular today.
A third option, found on the WWII-vintage STG44, is a cross-button on the side of the receiver. Pushed one way, and the rifle is semi-auto. Pushed the other way, and the rifle becomes full-auto.
Most all military rifles today use none of the above. Nearly all feature a three-position (safe, semi, and full) manual safety/selector lever.
Currently, as noted above, there is a murky area involving mostly add-on devices which are purported to enable a shooter to produce what looks and sounds like full-auto fire from an erstwhile semi-auto (non-NFA) rifle.
The most well-known of these is the famous “Bump-Stock,” which harnesses the rifle’s recoil to assist the shooter in pressing the trigger rapidly, came to light during the 2017 Las Vegas, NV shooting incident.
A single M4, equipped with an after-market Bump-Stock, was apparently found at the scene, among many other weapons. There is no evidence it was even involved in the actual shooting, but its mere presence sufficed to persuade the Trump Administration to ban it, thus throwing a bone to Marxist/liberals who ever-lust after the notion of banning all guns.
Other such devices, that have not been banned, but produce an identical effect, include the “Binary Trigger” and the “Forced-Reset Trigger.” No manufacturer (that I know of) installs these devices at the factory, but they are evidently available as add-ons.
The Binary-Trigger fires a single shot when the trigger is pressed to the rear, and fires a second, single shot when the trigger is subsequently released.
The “Forced-Reset Trigger,” as the title suggests, forces the trigger back forward immediately after discharge, enabling an instant second shot We might call it a deliberate “trigger-slap!”
As a trainer and educator, I don’t allow any of these devices on the range, be they legally banned or not, as I consider them all (albeit ingenious) to represent an extreme safety hazard, fairly an invitation to UDs!
And, as noted above, any legitimate “advantage” they provide to the shooter is extremely dubious.
Their sole purpose, as far as I can see, is to provide a “cheap thrill” to non-serious students.
They are of no interest to Operators, and thus to me!